After traveling for three months through seven different countries in Southern Africa, we come home and prepare to hit the road again. I’m talking about those maintenance visits like doctor, dentist, and hardware store.


A few months later, we hit the road and spend four summer months in remote Haines, Alaska as caretakers of the Bald Eagle Preserve. Although Alaska is not a foreign country for US citizens, it sometimes feels like it. Something about the pristine air and abundant wildlife draws us to Alaska over and over.

Eagle on chilkat

Back home after Alaska, and after several more maintenance visits, we prepare to spend a couple of months in Australia. But first…we need to drum up some travel money.

Tree 1

Enter the Christmas tree…unloading, cutting, drilling, loading back up, cutting again, and eventually tying with twine to the tops of fancy SUV’s in the Scottsdale/Paradise Valley area of Arizona. I even deliver and set-up trees in a few mansions. Anything for a sale. Sometimes we simply place the tree in the backseat of a sporty convertible.

Tree 2

Three solid weeks of bending and lifting takes its toll on our backs, legs, and hands. But we make it through in one piece, with a pocket full of travel cash!


First destination on the road…a stop in Albuquerque, New Mexico in a room with a hot tub! Then we continue our drive across the US for a surprise visit to my parents on Christmas Eve in the village of Mingo Junction, Ohio.

Yellow brick road sign

Let’s take at least one side road, the Yellow Brick Road to the “Land of Oz” where we visit the original house of Dorothy and Toto in Kansas.

Dorothys house

After a fantastic time with my parents in Mingo Jct., we’re off to the city lights of downtown Chicago. Yes, splurge on a room (1/2 price, off-season) downtown in the middle of the Magnificent Mile to start off the new year. Stay tuned…                       Ron Mitchell 



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